Multichannel Commerce: Creating Loyalty in the New Era of Syndicated Commerce
Multichannel commerce has evolved; the lines between channels are disappearing. Retailers have long built strategies for marketing to shoppers within a channel, whether it's online, in-store, through a catalog, via a mobile site and so on. But today's shoppers view retailers holistically, regardless of how and where they choose to shop. This dynamic changes everything for retailers. They're now required to promote their brand and products consistently, in relevant context, to individual customers. The era of "syndicated commerce" is upon us.
In this new paradigm, retailers are using their e-commerce website as a virtual hub for commerce across all channels — e.g., via smartphones and wireless devices such as the iPad; on social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter; through transactional emails; customer service encounters; in-store; etc. This evolution changes the relationship retailers have with consumers. It doesn't matter what "door" a customer walks through. Retailers must identify individual shoppers as a prospect or a returning customer, then offer the right promotions and products that provide a compelling experience that's true to their brand. This new one-to-one relationship between retailer and customer is tricky, but it provides new levels of customer engagement, deeper customer loyalty, and will ultimately drive sales and profit.
In the new world of syndicated commerce, content, promotions and customer interactions are syndicated from a central commerce hub (i.e., today's e-commerce platforms) across all channels. There's one source of content, one inte- grated product catalog and one source of history relative to each customer. Retailers can drive acquisition, conversion and retention in the new world of syndicated commerce quickly if they think about retailing from the customer's perspective. It's not really e-commerce anymore; it's just commerce. And consumers want commerce at their fingertips, at any time and at any place. The transition to cross-channel syndicated commerce can begin with the following three easy steps: